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LETTERS for November 25 issue

By Staff | Nov 26, 2010


Last Saturday evening, the eighth annual John Kelly Awards were held in Waimea Valley. Sponsored by Surfrider Foundation and joined by Protect Oahu and Keep the Country Country, there were many volunteers to help out. Kyle Juk and I represented Surfrider’s Maui Chapter.

Trilogy (from Maui) was recognized for its “Blue ‘Aina” reef cleanup campaign. Mark Cunningham received the Lifetime Achievement Award. To most people, the highlight of the evening was when Jack Johnson joined Paula Fuga on stage.

To me, though, the highlight was when Duane DeSoto received his award and addressed the crowd, telling all, “Malama ‘aina is not someone else’s job. It’s my job and it’s your job.”

It was so inspiring to see so many people serious about helping to clean the land! The recent cleanups over here show that we are catching on, but we still have a few hardcore jerks hellbent on making a mess wherever they are.

Particularly aggravating are those that dump rubbish over the side or in front of gates from professional

gardening jobs, like a truck I witnessed the other day, The dump is in Olowalu, guys.

Rich or poor, all of us are extremely blessed to be here on Maui, and we are all better off than 99 percent of the world!

None of us will be here on Maui for very long as life is very short, and you never know where we will land in the next life or what color skin we will be wearing. Help take care of our island! Malama ‘aina!



I have been living in San Luis Obispo County in California lately and was surprised to cruise by “Lahaina’s” there. I went in with my best pidgin to greet the “Hawaiians,” and all the waiters and other employees didn’t have a clue what I was saying! In fact, their English wasn’t very good. “Eh brah — howzit… eh, like one kine menu?” They were ALL Mexicans! I asked in Spanish for the owner, and they replied in that language that the person was out of town. The menu, however, was very mixed-plate local Maui-style and the decor was Hawaiian.

I also found another Hawaiian restaurant in Pismo Beach called Hapa Haole, where former Maui resident Merrell Fankhauser plays Hawaiian music on his slack key guitar surrounded by Hawaiian interior decorating and island food.

There are quite a few people from Hawaii who have moved to this county, and they pack those places. There are also lots of luaus around here!

There is one Hawaiian restaurant called the Tiki Creek where I played music, and it even has surfboards on the walls and tikis. There are lots of tikis around this county. One of the most popular local TV programs is called “Tiki Lounge,” complete with hula dancers and island music.

There is also a Hawaiian decorated, surf-oriented coffee shop nearby called Red Dirt Coffee managed by a former Lahaina resident (a part-Hawaiian guy). They have back issues of Maui Surfing magazine on the tables for the customers.

STEVE OMAR, Former resident of Lahaina


The board and members of Napili Canoe Club wish to thank the artists who contributed their artwork to our event, “Paddle Mania.” It was a unique and special fundraiser.

We also thank the Lahaina Cannery Mall for our paddle display and Kaanapali Land Management for the use of the venue, which was fantastic.

Dave Allaire was terrific as auctioneer and donated to the event. We thank Louise Rocket for her great help with articles in the Lahaina News.

The “Paddle Mania” Committee — Fran, Marilyn, Ellen and Kim — were amazing and worked so hard for the success of the auction.

Thanks to Nalu Grindz for the great food, Dwight Quenga for fabulous music and all members of NCC for set-up and cleanup.

JEANNE GONZALES, Napili Canoe Club


Mahalo nui loa to everyone who supported me in my effort to represent you on the Hawaii Board of Education.

I would like to thank my dedicated family, friends and island neighbors who helped me throughout the entire campaign and never wavered. A special mahalo to the ILWU, Carpenter’s Union and the Hawaii State Teachers Association for their support and hard work on Maui, Lanai, Molokai, Hawaii and Kauai. Without your efforts, I would not have been successful in the campaign.

To our principals, teachers, office staff, education assistants, cafeteria staff, custodians and support personnel, your dedication and hard work inspired me throughout the long days and multi-island traveling during both the primary and general elections. It was an honor to get to know you and listen to how much you care about our children.

To those who voted for me, I am grateful for your support. As your Board of Education member, know that I will work toward strengthening the two path system, preparing our children for college and vocational careers.

LEONA ROCHA-WILSON, Board of Education, District 2


With the mid-term elections wrapped up, it’s time for another vote — one that will affect millions of Americans, our economy and our country.

Congress faces a crucial decision: whether to extend unemployment benefits for the millions of Americans experiencing the brunt of our so-called “jobless economic recovery.” If lawmakers fail to act, it will be a grim holiday season for too many people.

The nonpartisan National Employment Law Project (NELP) estimates that two million Americans will lose unemployment benefits by early December if no extension is forthcoming.

Some of us may look at the election results and argue, “Didn’t the American people just vote against government spending?” No. There were a variety of reasons people voted the way they did this year.

If you look at the polls, Americans favor helping the unemployed, just as they favor ending the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and preserving the safety net for seniors and others in peril during this economic crisis.

Actually, the top issue of concern to Americans isn’t government spending. It’s the economy, especially jobs. For the sake of the country, lawmakers should make reviving the economy their top priority for the rest of this year.

Democrats should realize they were elected to do a job — and they should do it. Republicans should realize with leadership comes responsibility, and we didn’t hold a referendum on Nov. 3 about how we should treat people who are unemployed through no fault of their own.

One could debate the various ways of doing this. But the quickest, most effective way to achieve some success would be to extend unemployment benefits immediately, in time to save what otherwise will be another dismal holiday season for retailers.

Economists argue, and the National Employment Law Project notes, that unemployment benefits stimulate growth. Why? Because unemployed people spend their benefits on necessities, such as mortgage payments, utilities, food and items at the discount store. NELP says this spending may have created 1.15 million jobs in 2010 alone.

We don’t know when the economy will improve. But the government can speed up the process — especially as we enter the holiday season, a cornerstone of the U.S. economy. The retail industry accounts for 13.4 percent of the nation’s private sector workforce.

Department stores, electronics chains and discounters count on holiday sales for more than one-fifth of their total annual revenues.

We’ve seen what happens when unemployed people don’t shop. In 2008, before Congress approved benefits for the newly unemployed, holiday sales dropped nearly 4 percent from the previous year. It was the first decline since the Department of Commerce began tracking retail sales in 1992.

During the disastrous 2008 holiday season, retailers hired only 231,000 workers — well under half of the 618,000 hired the previous year. Fewer sales mean fewer jobs. Fewer jobs mean a sluggish economy and more extended unemployment. And the cruel and vicious cycle of the Great Recession continues. Our lawmakers can vote to stop it.